I made my guy fairly large. A larger piece is easier to hold on to while working, if you are going to make a small carving start with a extra long piece of wood. Do most of the heavy carving when you've got a good hand hold available then cut the piece free of the hand hold for fine work and finishing.
Give carving a try, you never know. And, when Bufford is done drill a hole or two in his head and make him a pencil holder if you can't think of anything else.